In our ongoing commitment to making it more profitable to raise heritage breeds, The Livestock Conservancy created the Shave ‘Em to Save ‘Em Initiative (SE2SE), thanks to funding provided by the Manton Foundation. This program recognizes fiber artists who use wool from breeds on our Conservation Priority List while connecting shepherds of heritage breeds with customers.
The Livestock Conservancy has long said that the way to save endangered breeds of livestock is to give them a job. In the case of wool sheep, we need to start using their wool again. Because of marketing challenges, some shepherds discard or compost the wool after their annual shearing rather than cleaning it and selling it. This program encourages fiber artists to try using rare wools, and helps shepherds learn how to prepare their wool for sale and how to reach potential customers, thereby making it more profitable to raise heritage breeds.
How does it work?
- Fiber Artists buy wool from rare breed Fiber Providers who provide a “stamp” for fiber artists to put in their “passport.”
- They earn items for completing projects.
- They share pictures of their projects on Facebook and Ravelry.
- The more breeds they use, the more “stamps” they collect, the more items they earn, the more wool the providers sell.
How will Fiber Artists find Fiber Providers?
Through The Livestock Conservancy’s online breeders and products directory
How do you get listed in the directory?
By being a Livestock Conservancy member OR by becoming a Breeders Directory Participant.
Why are sheep breeds endangered?
The diverse collection of breeds on the Conservation Priority List were bred for specific traits and characteristics by many generations of farmers. While this gives us incredibly unique and interesting products to work with, these breeds do not fit into today’s “modern” agricultural model. Additionally, cheap petroleum-based synthetic fibers have replaced wool in many of today’s clothing and textile markets. Although these fibers are cheaper, heritage breed wool is far more sustainable and fiber artists are rediscovering the vast variety of uses the different breeds offer.